I’ve Got A Question For You…
How many of your favorite albums have you not listened to in the last year? How about 2 years? 5? 10? More?
Let me give you an example: London Calling by The Clash has been a favorite of mine since probably 1982, and I played it to death for at least 10 years, and by ‘to death’ I mean at least once a month, sometimes every week. After that things slowed down somewhat for The Only Band That Mattered, and I brought it out maybe once a year. Fast forward to 2012, now, and I cannot recall the last time I actually played the damn thing. This got me to thinking about other ‘favorites’ and the last time I played them, and I’ve got to be honest here. There is at least a full 1/3rd of my collection that is currently suffering from abandonment issues, and why is that? I fully recognize that these albums are some of the cream of the crop; I remember enjoying them immensely, so why do I constantly bypass them? And, if I can go one step further, why do I still consider them my favorites?
There are exceptions to this rule, of course. Ever since I was a little kid I have always, for one week each year, gotten a terrible jones to listen to The Beatles entire discography, in chronological order. There are other examples, like The Kinks, but certain albums, well…not so much. I’m sure over familiarity plays a part, but there is a portion of my subconscious that tells me that maybe the time has passed for those once cherished favorites. Maybe they only made sense during that particular time in my life. I’m not talking about guilty pleasures here, I’m talking about stone cold classic albums, albums that not only I think (thought?) were classics, but that critics and other music fanatics that I admire greatly think (thought?) were pretty special as well.
When I do make a point to listen to one of these it’s almost a task. It’s hard, like work, to do it. Sometimes when I do I am pleasantly surprised by my reaction to it, though. Sometimes it rekindles the fire I once had for it. And sometimes I’m disappointed.
But here’s the rub: I have made snap decisions a couple of times where I’ve sold off or deleted certain albums from my collection and regretted it immensely, so much so that I have gone out and re-bought the album for much more money than I sold it for. Sometimes I’m prompted by hearing a song from said album; other times I’m inspired by something I’ve read on a blog, or music site. For some albums I’ve done it twice; listened, been disenchanted, sold it, been inspired, listened again, sold it again. I don’t think I’ve ever done it 3 or more times, however. Yes, I know I’m a bit of a freak, and may even be over analyzing things here. “Desperate for a post idea, E?”, I can hear you mumble to yourself as you read this rant.
But as the Four Tops say: I just can’t help myself!